What do your students do when they finish their work? Do you have to answer the question, “I’m done! What can I do now?” over and over again throughout the day? Do your fast finishers become a classroom management problem? Are you constantly scrambling to find early finisher activities to keep your students engaged in productive learning?
Trying to keep your students engaged at all times is no easy task. As a teacher, I always found this even more difficult when some students were finishing their work way ahead of the others. Most of the time when students said, “I’m finished – now what can I do?” my response was, “Read a book or work on your homework.”
But I never felt good about this answer.
I noticed that only a minority of students would actually get engaged in their book or homework when they finished their assignment. Most of the time, they were either unproductive or became a distraction to the other students who were still working.
What Should the Fast Finishers Do When They Finish Their Work?
When students finish their work, we don’t want them to distract other students or sit at their seats unproductive. We also don’t want them doing busy work that has no educational value. Instead, we want our fast finishers to:
- remain productive and engaged
- practice essential, curriculum-related skills without it feeling like “extra work”
The Early Finisher Board is an ELA and Math choice board classroom management tool that solves this fast finisher problem once and for all.
The Early Finisher Board promotes:
- freedom to choose based on personal preferences
- differentiation based on learning styles and interests
- success for a wide variety of ability levels within your diverse classroom
- student engagement
- pride and excitement
What Does the Early Finisher Board Include?
The Early Finisher Board includes seven different task sections: Read It, Write It, Make It, Do It, Solve It, Draw It, and Journal It. Each of these tasks contains an activity.
Students choose which activity they want to do based on interests and preference.
Most teachers switch the tasks for the choice board about every two weeks.
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Modifications and Adaptations
Although the Early Finisher Board was designed to be used with a tri-fold board (like the kind you use for a Science Fair project), there are many other options to make this work in your classroom. This board can be modified and adapted for any classroom space. You can use a bulletin board, the side of a cabinet, unused wall space, crates, bins, or even a binder. The options are endless!
This system can also be used for morning work, as a math/literacy station, or as a Friday Fun activity!
Over the years, many teachers have proudly sent me pictures of how they adapted The Early Finisher Board for their unique classroom and the space they had available. I’m excited to share those with you now!
If you are currently using or considering implementing The Early Finisher Board (or the Math Choice Board) into your classroom, get ready for some inspiration!
Fast Finishers Choice Board Using a Tri-Fold Board
I created the original Early Finisher Board with some bulletin board border, stencils and fun file folders. Personally I love lots of color, so I tried to design it to be bright and appealing!
Pros and Cons to Using a Tri-Fold Board
No matter what layout you choose to implement in your classroom, there are pros and cons. Here are some things to consider with the tri-fold board:
- can be created at home on the weekend or during the summer and brought to school
- a good option if you don’t have much wall space left in your classroom
- all the fast finisher activities are easily visible
- Can sometimes fall down when students are getting the tasks (if they aren’t careful)
- There may be extra wear and tear because of this.
Using a Bulletin Board, Wall, or Side of a Cabinet For Fast Finishers Activities: Pros and Cons
Some teachers find that a bulletin board works best in their classroom. Here are some pros and cons to that option.
- makes a wonderful interactive bulletin board display
- all early finisher activities are easily visible
- sturdier than the tri-fold board option
- Will your students need a stool to be able to reach the activities?
- takes up valuable bulletin board space
Using Folders, Crates, or Tubs For Your Fast Finisher Activities
The teachers who submitted these next few examples got really creative to make this system work for the fast finishers in their classrooms!
Pros and Cons of Bins, Tubs, or Crates
- very portable
- easy organization
- doesn’t take up much space
- Students can’t see all the options as well.
- Will have to think about how you are going to post the activities for students to see, rather than having them pull them all out of folders to see what they are
- May have to use your printer settings to shrink the activities to fit certain bins
Would you like to try the Early Finisher Board for FREE?
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